There’s been a resurgence of cool when people consider the camp collar shirt.
It’s great news, because not only are these types of shirt really practical for summer – they’re also fun. They liven up the room.
The style has come in and out of vogue over several decades, with surges of popularity in the 50s as camp shirts and later television and cinema brought people back to the fun shirt via titles like Magnum P.I. and Scarface.
In some parts of the world, fun shirts are more of a way of life than a fashion cycle – such as Latin American Guayabera shirts – or a staple pillar of identity. I mean, they are often referred to as Hawaiian shirts after all!
This summer has been my first time trying them, and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’ve got three different ones in my wardrobe, all in different fabrics.
Here’s my take on these summer shirts in 2020:
Turn The Volume Up…
This is the loudest shirt I own.
Uncharacteristically for a resort style shirt, this one is cut with long tails and can only be worn tucked in. It’s a seersucker number from Tommy Hilfiger, which I picked up for about $60 on sale from The Iconic.
While I’ve previously owned and enjoyed seersucker trousers, this was my first shirt in the fabric. The coarseness of it means it isn’t super high on the comfort scale, but it makes up for that in breathability.
The print is very bold and good for channelling those Magnum, p.i. vibes when paired with light wash jeans:
I’d like to possibly remove the top button and re-press the lapel so it’s even on both sides of the placket.
I don’t know how well it’ll pair with any sort of sport jacket, but I’ll find out soon enough.
The Magnum Special
The second fun shirt I picked up for summer was a genuine vintage ‘Paradise Found’ rayon shirt from the ’80s. Paradise Found was the brand who supplied the Hawaiian shirts for Tom Selleck to wear in Magnum P.I., and I’m a huge fan of the show so this shirt was a special purchase for me.
Funnily enough I’m yet to wear it with jeans for a totally Magnum-esque look, unlike I’ve done with the seersucker shirt.
The versatility of this one has been a pleasant surprise, as I’ve found the pattern works well with many others and the colours are super versatile. It lends itself to dressier looks as well which means I’ve gotten a good bit of use from it already.
Unlike the seersucker shirt, I already know this one works great under a jacket. I’ve worn it under a couple of different jackets and enjoyed the results each time.
The rayon fabric wears cool, drapes well and is soft to the touch. Unfortunately rayon is known for losing its shape so I do have to be a bit careful with how much I wear it and how I treat it.
Still, I’m really enjoying it and I’m inclined to pick up another one or two of these vintage beauties. I’ve wanted one of the iconic red jungle bird ones for a while, so I might save up for that.
The King Of Collars
The third fun shirt in my wardrobe is a bit different to the others. It’s more like a mish-mash of various vintage design eras in a 50s sport shirt meets 70s resort shirt execution.
This is the only one of the three I own that’s cut to actual resort shirt proportions, i.e. short enough to wear untucked. It’s still long enough that I can tuck it if wearing high-waisted trousers (such as above), but lends itself to untucked looks as well although I’m yet to do one. The reason for this is I think untucked shirts are a better look with flat front trousers, and I prefer to wear pleats which I don’t think take as kindly to an untucked shirt.
The collar of this one is very large, and evokes references from people to the recent movie ‘The Irishman’ as some of the characters in the film wear shirts like this. The large collar is very 70s in origin.
P.s. for those who have seen the film, how weird was it seeing Ray Romano play a mobster!?
Something I love about all of these fun casual summer shirts is the airiness and breathability thanks to the summery fabrics and relaxed fits.
The often bold patterns lend a bit of brightness to casual outfits, which is what summer is all about.
Versatility is somewhat dependent on the colour story and the fabric, and the design features to a lesser extent. Ones like my Paradise Found shirt are more versatile thanks to the fabric and the pattern, while the other two are limited by sheer loudness in the case of the seersucker shirt, and the collar size in the case of the other shirt.
Either way, they’re all fun to wear.
This is a style that I never thought I’d wear earlier last year. I’m really glad I tried it, it’s been a great addition to my casual wardrobe and there’s a good chance I’ll be picking up more designs; particularly in the camp collar style.
I wholeheartedly recommend you should give this style a go if you haven’t already.
Do you have a favourite summer wardrobe staple?